What Owners Need to Know About Equine Euthanasia

The word euthanasia was first used in the early 17th century to indicate an easy death, having originated from the Greek eu (well) and thanatos (death). We all dread the day we will lose a special horse, but the opportunity to make the transition “easy” can bring peace in a tragic situation.

The American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) Guidelines for Equine Euthanasia are available at aaep.org/euthanasia-guidelines. These not only guide veterinarians on how to euthanize a horse but also when. The criteria provided can assist you in making the difficult decision to say goodbye to your beloved animal.

Having the option to euthanize is a special gift, but deciding whether to do so can be extremely difficult. By objectively reviewing the guidelines with your veterinarian, you can determine if your animal has a good quality of life, a life worth living. A delayed death is a welfare concern if he or she is in pain or suffering from an unmanageable condition. The goal is to be on the lookout for signs from your horse that euthanasia is the most humane

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